Sunburnt Bug: 1960 Volkswagen Beetle

Few cars still bring a smile so many years after their final production model was built as the Volkswagen Beetle. From bone stock survivors that wear their simple duds with pride to heavily customized coupes that epitomize the “Cal Look”, there’s any number of ways to build one, with every result almost guaranteed to draw a crowd in your garage or at the gas station. This 1960 model Beetle is already capable of dragging you into a conversatin with a stranger thanks to its heavily patina’d exterior, courtesy of years’ worth of relentless Arizona sunshine. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $6,100 and no reserve.

Oh, how I love the early model Beetles. The small taillights and huge bumper overriders are a dichotomy like only the Germans could come up with, and it’s one of the few times I will speak glowingly about big bumpers. The Beetle here has seemingly already been lowered a bit, as the rear end squats over the back tires more aggressively than I remember in the dealer brochure. The seller notes that it’s not an illusion; the Beetle has been dumped, courtesy of the adjustable beam in the front and torsion plates in the rear, which were rotated to give it the low, mean stance you see here. The engine bay contains a partially complete 1300 that does not run.

The interior is actually surprisingly nice, as the outside might suggest it was completely neglected and forgotten. Not so, as the interior paint is near as vibrant as it likely was when it left the factory, and gives a clue as to what the outside would look like if the paint wasn’t burnt off. It’s a great color, but I’m still not sure I’d be rushing to repaint the exterior any time soon. The parcel shelf beneath the dash looks too good to be true, as these are usually damaged or missing entirely in non-restored cars. The floor pan is supposedly quite solid, so you won’t be Fred Flinstoning it in this example; there’s just one hole noted by the battery tray.

What a gorgeous, simple dash. It’s amazing this was an economy car when new, because the painted dash, ivory switchgear, and handsome speedometer all look like they’d reside in a far more expensive car if recreated today. The seller notes that despite the engine not running, a 16oocc long block will be included with the sale. Issues worth nothing include evidence of prior accident damage under the trunk lid, right where the fender attaches to the tub. The running boards should be replaced due to some crustiness where they attach to the body (I think they all do this), and the brake pedal presently sinks to the floor. Overall, this Bug has the kind of appearance that’s impossible to fake, and without the penalty of being a rust bucket.

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  1. Derek

    Looks ok apart from the lowering. Rear wheels sitting like that are just daft – you get that with MX-5s too if they’re not done right. If I were going to faff about with it, I’d make it run. The engines aren’t that difficult.

    Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    MX 5s come from the factory with negative rear camber. Our Mini Cooper S is decambered from the factory on all 4 wheels. ‘Tis the way to get rapidly around a corner. This car would look with good paint on it.

    Like 3
    • Derek

      Aye, but not that much. If they’re dropped too far, they’re running on the corner of the tyre rather than the tread.

      Not enough grip if you’re looking to go hooning around.

      Like 2
  3. Nash Bridges

    I think something wrong with car look too low

    Like 2
  4. Mark in WNC

    The parcel shelf was an after-market item.

    Like 3
    • MBorst

      My Uncle worked at VW dealership. My family had many beetles most all came new with the tray

  5. GraemeT

    If you’re looking for a classic Bug, this is it. The swing axles can be fixed, so that’s not a major issue. Looks like a nice original candidate for getting back on the road. It’ll be interesting to see what this ends up selling for. It won’t be cheap.

    Like 2
  6. Kevin P Wheat

    I bought a ’60 bug for $50.00 with its engine in a basket when I was 15 years old in 1971 cost me $28 to rebuild the engine including a crank kit. My neighbor was a Volkswagen dealer mechanic he helped with it and taught me how to work on it. We got running before I was old enough drive on the street so ran it through my yard and my dead end street after school and before I went to work, had to drive the neighbors crazy. I’d like that one but it’s a little more than I’d like to pay.

    Like 1
  7. MBorst

    Basket under dash was standard equipment. Our family had several of these thru the years. I removed my basket for more knee room. Fun cars, use to be cheap to rebuild whole engine. Like everything else, not so much anymore. I have ideas for this and would probably polish the pantina and make it a sleeper. Mine could out run many small blocks v8s when I was done with it.

  8. gaspumpchas

    I’d bring it up to where it should be, paint in original, and fix the mill. Would look sweet in the original blue. I’d be concerned about the “Crustiness” thats in the rocker area, and the collision damage. Need a good inspection, but its a moot point as it looks like somebody bought it for 6100. Lots of scam bidders in there and if the guy thought he’d better take it with a legit bid I dont blame him. Scam bidder was second in line. Good luck to the new owner. Stay safe.

    Like 1
  9. Ed

    Package tray was NOT standard. It was definitely aftermarket.

    Like 1
  10. Daniel Gavin

    $6,000.00 already bid?!!! Please…….pass me that bottle of Jack.

  11. Glenn Reynolds

    Looks like the rear wheels are stock, but mounted “backwards”. I did this to my Baja bug when I was a kid with no money

    • Tony T

      How could you mount the wheels “backwards”? No counter-sink for the bolts (or lug nuts) …..

      Like 1
      • gaspumpchas

        Tony, you would have to look at the vw wheel, Glenn is right,n we reversed the wheels on vw’s and dune buggies. you can do this with no compromise to safety. Stay safe and good luck.


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